Isolate for Saturation Adjustment

You now need to create a selection matte to isolate the saturation adjustment. You can create this matte by using existing layer data.

Step 1. Select (or Link) the two layers.

Step 2. Select the top layer, which is set to Difference mode.

Step 3. Hold down the ^9 or ^9 key and choose Merge Layers (or Merge Linked) from the Layer menu. A flattened copy set to Normal mode is now available.

Step 4. Desaturate this new layer by selecting Image>Adjust> Desaturate, or press +ffl (^©+L+ffl).

Step 5. You need to expand this matte to make it more useful. To get a larger white area, choose Image>Adjust>Equalize.

This will assign the lightest area to white (255) and the darkest area to black (0). The remaining pixels are dispersed evenly, thus creating a more useful high-contrast layer.

Step 6. Soften the matte by running the Gaussian Blur filter. Choose a value that generates soft edges. Depending on your image's resolution, this number will vary.

Step 7. Now the high-contrast layer will be used as a selection guide. Switch to the Channels palette (by default, it is docked with Layers. If it isn't visible, choose Windows>Show Channels).

Step 8. Hold down the iX key (1L~\ and click on the layer's thumbnail. You should now see the appropriate "marching ants."

Step 9. Further soften the selection by choosing Select> Feather if desired.

Step 10. Switch back to the layer's palette; turn off the visibility indicator for the high-contrast matte. Select the photo layer that needs desaturating.

Step 11. Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer by choosing Layer> New Adjustment Layer>Hue/Saturation. Click OK to create the layer then make sure the Preview box is checked.

Step 12. Pull down the saturation and lightness sliders in small amounts. If you overdo it, you will get undesirable posterization. Click OK to apply the adjustment. You can double-click the adjustment layer to modify the Hue/ Saturation adjustment if needed.

The final image has the oversaturated areas corrected.

Mask Touchup

^ When touching up mattes, masks, or alpha channels, you will use:

Automate Broadcast-Safe Color

^ The above correction is now available as a prerecorded action. If you have Photoshop CS2 or newer, then load the Video Actions set by clicking on the Actions palette submenu.

With experience, you will learn to spot saturation problems visually. You can, however, always use the NTSC Colors filter as a way to spot potential issues.

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